In a previous blogpost, we did a breakdown of different hair types and curl patterns, with suggestions for how to care for each hair type. One of our most commonly asked questions at NaturAll Club is what products to use specifically for 4C natural hair, or how to care specifically for 4C hair. So we decided to dedicate an entire article to 4C curls!
4C hair has the tightest curls of all hair patterns, with hairs forming tight s's, z's or coils. 4C hair shares many of the other characteristics of type 4 hair, and of course, individuals with 4C hair can have different hair densities and porosities, which changes how your hair behaves. However, these are some of the defining qualities of 4C hair:
- Hair dries out quickly, or struggles to maintain moisture more than other curl patterns
- Individuals can experience extreme shrinkage, sometimes up to 75%!
- Hair is prone to tangles and matting if not properly cared for and regularly detangled
- Hair is fragile and prone to breakage
So how do you address the unique challenges (and enjoy the unique beauty!) that come with 4C hair? The trick is a natural hair regimen that keeps your hair healthy. Here are 7 tips from NaturAll Club.
1. RETAIN MOISTURE. Even if you have low porosity hair, 4C hair needs to be kept moisturized. The kinks and coils of 4C curls prevent the distribution of sebum (natural oil produced by your scalp) throughout your hair. This allows your hair to dry out faster than other curl patterns, so you need to take extra precautions to keep your hair moisturized. Find a good moisturizer AND a good sealer. Oils like coconut oil and olive oil, and creams like Shea butter are effective at sealing moisture in your hair. If you wear a protective style, don’t forget to moisturize regularly!
2. SHAMPOO MINDFULLY. Yes, you still need to shampoo regularly to keep your scalp and hair clean- but you can lengthen the time between washes to 2, 3, or even 4 weeks. Avoid shampoos that contain sulfates or any of these other harmful ingredients. If shampoo still makes your hair dry and brittle, alternate with cowash to reduce the frequency of shampoo, or follow shampoo with an apple cider vinegar rinse. Wash your hair in sections to prevent tangles.
3. DETANGLE. This is extra important for 4C girls because the tight curl pattern of your hair can cause hairs to curl and coil around each other, causing tangles. Tangles lead to breakage, which hinders growth. Detangle regularly and gently, using a wide-toothed comb on damp hair (don’t use a brush!) Use conditioners to add slip and help with the process. When you find knots, don’t yank- use your fingers to gently pull hairs out of the knot.
4. DEEP CONDITION. While we recommend most customers deep condition every 2 weeks, 4C hair, in particular, thrives with weekly deep conditioning treatments. This will keep your hair healthy, bouncy, and shiny, and will prevent snagging and tangles. We recommend NaturAll Club's Avocado Deep Conditioner.
5. AVOID OVERSTYLING. Styling products dry out your hair, build up on your scalp, weigh down your hair, etc. Touching and styling your hair excessively can also lead to breakage. Explore styles that require less styling products, or alternate between high and low manipulation styles to give your hair a break.
6. STYLE WITH SHRINKAGE IN MIND. Shrinkage can be frustrating because it keeps you from seeing growth, and it can also make your hair more susceptible to tangles and single strand knots. You can explore heat-free styles that stretch your hair, such as twist outs, braid outs, and bantu knots. But don't forget to embrace and celebrate shrinkage, and have fun with it! 4C hair lends itself to so many styling options.
Suggested 4c styles
- Two strand twists
- Twist outs
- Bantu knots
- Buns or space buns
- As with any other hair type, you can use clip ins, extensions, or crochet braids to switch up your look or add length.
7. LOVE YOUR 4C HAIR. Some people have grown up hearing that 4C hair is unmanageable, unattractive, or otherwise undesirable. These ideas are as far from the truth as it gets! 4C hair is not only beautiful but incredibly versatile, capable of infinite styles and looks. 4C curls are also easily managed and taken care of with the correct regimen and products. Celebrate your hair with pride!